Lizard Week! (Take Home Activity)

This week’s reptile is the lizard!

Below are pictures of a green anole and a five lined skink. Both are types of lizards that can commonly be found at the Houston Arboretum. They are cold blooded reptiles with long slender bodies who live mainly live in wooded areas. They both are insectivores, feeding on spiders, caterpillars, millipedes beetles and other insects. When faced with a predator, the five lined skink and the green anole have the ability to detach their twitching tail from their body. This distracts the would-be predator long enough for them to make a quick getaway! Eventually, they will be able to regrow their tail.

The green anole and the five lined skink do have their differences. The green anole has adhesive foot pads much like a gecko, whereas the five lined skink has claws on its feet to help it climb. The green anole has a distinct neck and head shape which the skink does not have. Male green anole also have a dewlap, a flap of pink skin under their neck. When asserting their dominance, the male anoles will flare their dewlap and bob their heads in a push-up like motion. This is a warning to other males to step back.

five lined skink          green anole

Activity: Create a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the characteristics of the green anole and the five lined skink.

Activity: Print and cut out the pictures of the two lizards. Take them outside to a garden or park area. Place the lizards somewhere in the plants or shrubs. Which one blends in better? Why? If you have a bright blue tail, would it make it easier for predators to find you?

Activity: Act like a lizard! Lizards use movement as a way to communicate. Below are some of their behaviors. Grab a couple of fellow lizards friends and act each one out!

Gape – an open mouth display

Chase – rapid pursuit of another lizard

Inflate – puff up body or throat

Head bob – up and down bobbing of the head

Dewlap – extend the flap of skin under the throat downward

Lunge – movement briefly towards another animal

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